Stress Management

Meaning: Stress management can be defined as interventions designed to reduce the impact of stressors in the workplace. These can have an individual focus, aimed at increasing an individual’s ability to cope with stressors. The goal of Stress Management is to help you to manage the stress of everyday life. Many different methods may be employed, such as biofeedback, meditation and massage. Objective: Stress management encompasses techniques intended to equip a person with effective coping mechanisms for dealing with psychological stress, with stress defined as a person's physiological response to an internal or external stimulus that triggers the fight-or-flight response. Stress management is effective when a person utilizes strategies to cope with or alter stressful situations. A lot of research has been conducted into stress over the last hundred years. Some of the theories behind it are now settled and accepted; others are still being researched and debated. During this time, there seems to have been something approaching open warfare between competing theories and definitions: Views have been passionately held and aggressively defended. What complicates this is that intuitively we all feel that we know what stress is, as it is something we have all experienced

and brain) gear up to meet perceived danger. Almost all body systems (the heart and blood vessels. short-term) stress leads to rapid changes throughout the body. His view in 1956 was that "stress is not necessarily something bad – it all depends on how you take it. a great deal of further research has been conducted. the digestive system. Acute (sudden. repeated stressful situations put a strain on the body that may contribute to physical and psychological problems. while that of failure. humiliation or infection is detrimental. with a range of harmful biochemical and long-term effects. however." Selye believed that the biochemical effects of stress would be experienced irrespective of whether the situation was positive or negative. the immune system. The most commonly accepted definition of stress (mainly attributed to Richard S Lazarus) is that stress is a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that "demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilize". Stress is now viewed as a "bad thing". Since then. The stress of exhilarating. Hans Selye was one of the founding fathers of stress research. Over time. In short. the sensory organs. creative successful work is beneficial. . These effects have rarely been observed in positive situations. Chronic (long-term) stress can have real health consequences and should be addressed like any other health concern. it's what we feel when we think we've lost control of events. life-or-death situation. and ideas have moved on.Introduction: Stress affects most people in some way. the lungs. These stresses could prove beneficial in a critical.

delivering more oxygen and blood sugar to power important muscles. When the threat is small. The stress response inside us is therefore part instinct and part to do with the way we think. our response is small and we often do not notice it among the many other distractions of a stressful situation.This is the main definition used by this section of Mind Tools. reducing blood loss if we are damaged. Unfortunately. these hormones help us to run faster and fight harder. as in other animals. to the exclusion of everything else. In this state. As well as this. although we also recognize that there is an intertwined instinctive stress response to unexpected events. these hormones focus our attention on the threat. jumpy and irritable. controlled skills. we are excitable. They divert blood away from the skin to the core of our bodies. Fight-or-Flight Some of the early research on stress (conducted by Walter Cannon in 1932) established the existence of the well-known "fight-or-flight" response. All of this significantly improves our ability to survive life-threatening events. The intensity of our focus on survival interferes with our ability to make fine judgments by drawing information from many sources. With trembling and a pounding heart. This actually reduces our ability to work effectively with other people. and help them stay efficient. We find ourselves more accident-prone and less able to make good decisions. In humans. this mobilization of the body for survival also has negative consequences. Not only life-threatening events trigger this reaction: We experience it almost any time we come across something unexpected or something that frustrates our goals. . it quickly releases hormones that help it to survive. They increase heart rate and blood pressure. we can find it difficult to execute precise. anxious. They increase sweating in an effort to cool these muscles. His work showed that when an organism experiences a shock orperceives a threat.

There are very few situations in modern working life where this response is useful. it also discusses: Long-term stress: The General Adaptation Syndrome and Burnout. Stress and Health. The Integrated Stress Response. we look at some important techniques in each of these three groups. can cause death. In the long term we need to keep it under control to avoid problems of poor health and burnout. Stress and its Affect on the Way We Think. This is a much-abridged excerpt from the 'Understanding Stress and Stress Management' module of the Mind Tools Stress Management Masterclass. These sections give you a deeper understanding of stress. As well as covering this material in more detail. Most situations benefit from a calm. and readers should take the advice of suitably . in extreme cases. The first of these articles shows you how to keep a stress diary – an important technique for undertsanding the most important sources of stress in your life. they are for guidance only. These help us to remain calm and effective in high pressure situations. controlled and socially sensitive approach. and help us avoid the problems of long term stress. While these stress management techniques have been shown to have a positive effect on reducing stress. Stress can cause severe health problems and. In the short term. rational. In the rest of this section of Mind Tools. Scope: There are very many proven skills that we can use to manage stress. we need to keep this fight-or-flight response under control to be effective in our jobs. Pressure & Performance: Flow and the 'Inverted-U'. helping you to develop your own stress management strategies for handling unique circumstances.

An optimal level of stress is characterized by high energy. Consider the analogy of a violin.” the violinist is able to play beautiful music. When the violin strings are too tight or too loose. high motivation. When the tension is “just right. it can also become chronic and excessive to the point where you are no longer able to adapt and cope with the pressures.qualified health professionals if they have any concerns over stress-related illnesses or if stress is causing significant or persistent unhappiness. mental alertness. improved memory and recall. sharp perception. . thorough analysis of problems. and a generally optimistic outlook. the music will be distorted. calmness under pressure. However. Stress can be challenging and useful. Health professionals should also be consulted before any major change in diet or levels of exercise. Conclusion: The key lesson is to strive for balance in your life.

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